I’ve been absolutely loving this season of Master Chef Australia and I really am excited to watch this week with one of my favourite chefs – Yotam Ottolenghi – visiting the set and providing the contestants with his guidance and inspiration.
A few years ago one of my dear friends and former colleagues, Kirrily, gave me the Jerusalem cook book for a birthday present…I just loved it and was so inspired by the way Yotam used fresh herbs, ingredients and textures to create the most amazing, interesting and flavour-packed meals and dishes. Whenever I can, I sit on the couch with a cuppa and pour over my favourite cook books and without question, I always come back to this one.
And when I cook from it I am reminded of my friend Kirrily (who is working and travelling in India at the moment) and I can’t help but appreciate the way in which food connects us all…her gift not only triggers fond memories of friendship and growth but provides me with inspiration to cook for those I love and also, share with you. There is something so pure and for me, heart warming about the passing on (an appreciation) of beautiful recipes.
When I’m not creating Palmy Platters on the weekend I love to cook dishes that are a little more special for my family…today I made these meatballs for my husband Mark and they really were the perfect Sunday meal on a chilly Winter’s afternoon. Our kitchen became filled with the most enticing aromas and I couldn’t help but feel happy and grateful for life’s simpler pleasures – particularly in this day and age when unfortunately our news and world seems to be filled with such inane hate and terror. Tonight I am thinking of London and all of the families who have lost loved ones…
Yotam’s meatball recipe is below and I recently posted a delicious vegan salad of his, made with dates and almonds (filed under Soul Food).
I hope you enjoy…
4 and a half tablespoons olive oil
350 grams broad beans, fresh or frozen
4 whole thyme sprigs
6 garlic cloves, sliced
8 spring onions, cut at an angle into 2 cm segments
2 and a half teaspoons lemon juice
500 ml chicken stock
salt and black pepper
300 grams minced beef
150 grams minced lamb
1 medium onion, finely chopped
120 grams breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons each chopped flat leaf parsely, mint, dill and coriander, plus 1/2 tablespoon extra each to finish the dish
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon baharat spice mix
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp capers, chopped
1 egg, beaten
Place all of the meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add 3/4 teaspoon of salt and plenty of black pepper and mix well with your hands. Form into balls about the same size of ping pong balls. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in an extra-large frying pan for which you have a lid. Sear half the meatballs over a medium heat, turning them until they are brown all over, about 5 minutes. Remove, add another 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and cook the other batch of meatballs. Remove from the pan and wipe it clean.
While the meatballs are cooking, throw the broad beans into a pot with plenty of salted boiling water and blanch for two minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water. Remove the skins from half the broad beans and discard the shells.
Heat the remaining olive oil in the same pan in which you seared the meatballs. Add the thyme, garlic and spring onion and saute over a medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the unshelled broad beans, 1 and a half tablespoons of the lemon juice, 80ml of the stock, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and plenty of black pepper. The beans should be almost covered with liquid. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
Return the meatballs to the pan with the broad beans. Add the remaining stock, cover the pan and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. If it is very runny, remove the lid and reduce a little. Once the meatballs stop cooking they will soak up a lot of the juices so make sure there is still plenty of sauce at this point. You can leave the meatballs now, off the heat, until ready to serve.
Just before serving, reheat the meatballs and add a little water, if needed, to get enough sauce. Add the remaining herbs and a tablespoon of lemon juice, the shelled broad beans and stir very gently. Serve immediately.